Today in History: 99 year-old Charles Njonjo

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The man from Kabete who rode a horse to school

The man who could ride to school on a horse delivered by a servant celebrates his 99th birthday today.

Charles Njonjo who was born to a colonial paramount chief collaborator at a time when Africans were under a sustained assault on their way of life by the colonial government is one of the longest serving Chief Justices in Kenyan  history.


Njonjo, a graduate of law from the Fort Hare University in South Africa was first appointed a legal clerk in the colonial government in 195.

The man who is known for his smooth stripped suits registered the Gikuyu, Embu, and Meru Association (GEMA) in 1971 a group under which he would charge some of its members including Kihika Kimani and Njenga Karume with treason in 1976.
The order was soon overturned, however, by the president, Jomo Kenyatta. Njonjo entered into parliament in April 1980 after retiring as attorney general at the age of 60, a post in which he had served for 17 years.

He was elected MP for Kikuyu unchallenged, after the incumbent MP had resigned his seat the day before Njonjo announced his candidacy.
In June 1980 he was selected for a newly created cabinet position by Daniel arap Moi, as minister for home and constitutional affairs, during an expected cabinet reshuffle.

After serving as MP and eventually taking a backseat in public service Njonjo then resurfced in October 2006 when he expressed support for former Prime Minister Raila Odinga‘s candidature as President in the infamous 2007 elections.

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After Raila’s loss in the polls Njonjo then took a backseat and is rarely seen in the public. In one fo the few TV interviews he has had Njonjo says he spends most of his time reading and writing. Happy birthday Chief Justice.

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